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Harvard Health Blog
Why does hair turn gray?
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
I’m a 92-year old male with a full head of brown hair, that is not dyed, and i don’t use any lotions. My solution is so simple that you are going to wonder why you did not think of it. It is so simple and logical.
For the last 40 years I have been massaging my scalp, 2 times a day. At this point i use a hairbrush with the little balls at the end of the bristles.
It just seems logical that the scalp, and the hair follicles, would be healthier with more blood.
By the way, my health history is terrible. 36 years ago I had cardiac arrest on a Downtown street in Boston (before cell phones), wiped out the Widow maker, and spent 19 days at Mass General. To complete the picture, I think it only fair to say that I made a fantastic recovey.
I am 65 with still mostly reddish brown hair. I do have enough grey that if someone looks closely they don’t think that I dye my hair. I have two siblings who have started turning grey late too. All three of us started having a few grey strands around 60. Two others started having grey come in in their early 40s. One of my aunts still had a mix of brown and grey in her early nineties. The timing of greying certainly seems to be genetic in my family. I would think that never greying would also be a gene-related outcome.
During my work in health care I noticed that elderly with long term health issues like diabetes (since their younger years) usually have quite dark hair without coloring it.
In wild boars it is a sign of good health.
You wrote that “Once a hair follicle produces hair, the color is set. ” I am a blond with some red highlights and have produced black hairs on my head and face. I have had a few strands of my mustache start out gray then turn black and vice versa. Just wanted to comment about follicles setting their color.
My parents got grey hair at 55+ yrs of age.and I have got them at 35+ yrs.i have a medium level stressful lifestyle.and do not have any of the diseases mentioned above.
I am facing this problem from any days. Even lot of my hairs are Don’t know what to do. I have tried everything, applied egg, alovera etc.
Hair turns gray because you don’t die it! (Ha! sorry!)
Suzanne, . . . dye it! Great comment.
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